Leafhoppers and Grapevine Yellows

Updated 19 January 2007

Grapevine yellows is a disease caused by a complex of phytoplasmas (formerly called a mycoplasma-like organism, MLO). Symptoms include necrotic shoot tips, tendrils and inflorescences, downward-curling leaves and vine death. It has affected primarily Chardonnay and Riesling vines in the Piedmont of Virginia (Wolf et al. 1994). It is similar to another yellows-type disease in Europe, Flavescence dorée (FD) (However, GY spreads within a vineyard more slowly than FD). The latter disease is know to be transmitted by various leafhoppers and planthoppers (Maixner 1994). A major vector in Europe of FD that has been introduced in North America is the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus Ball, the most common deltacephaline leafhopper associated with grapevines in New York (Maixner et al. 1993). Beanland (2003) reported on recent research on GY in northern Virginia. Potential vectors include the leafhoppers Agallia constricta, Exitianus exitiosus, Macrosteles quadrilineatus and Endria inimica. Transmission by these species is being evaluated, as well as the role of Vitis riparia and other wild host plants.

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